Juneteenth is NOT over. The spirit that filled the air today should continue to thrive and fill our lungs. We need the constant infiltration of love, community and joy in order to continue the work of liberation.
A Black person’s smile, laughter or hug embrace is infectious, for we are reflections of one another.
Black Lives have always mattered. Let’s continue to do the work. Let’s continue to converse, build and hold accountability... but not without remembering that joy is a choice that is just as important to our survival.
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
Shout out to @simsstrong for curating such a powerful visual representation of Unity. One small act brought together many today.
Stay Black. Stay Proud.
Every year in October I take my kids to a pumpkin farm for all things Fall fun. A day of playing in mud, obstacles courses, cold weather and hay rides to the pumpkin patch is something they look forward to every year. It is also every year during this trip that I get the best revelations.
This time last year a lot weighed on my heart, I was single, at a new job, caring for my sick mom and low key depressed. My children have grown so much sense then, and frankly so have I. Every fall as the season change, I begin a period of reflection. I reflect on all that has changed with who I am as a woman, mom, daughter etc. This trip of course did just that... Here are the my top 5 life reflections has inspired by this trip:
Top 10 Mama Reflections:
1. Children are resilient, but that doesn't mean we should forget that they need guidance and check-ins.
2. Let kids be kids. Let them get dirty, play and mud and be free.
3. Bigger is not always better. Sometimes joy comes with the smallest pumpkin. (See King's Picture - no matter how hard I try to persuade him for the bigger pumpkin his heart was content with the small pumpkin )
4. Dress in layers. You can always take clothes off if when it gets hot, you can't always put them on if you didn't start with them.
5. Capture memories. Take pictures and tell stories about the them later.
MelanatedMama is near and dear to my heart because it was birthed organically from me simply sharing my journey of parenting. Through my very public breastfeeding journey to tackling attempts at developing a healthy co parenting situation. I have taken much pride in my ability to be vulnerable. When the organizers of thee "P3- Pretty, Plus Size and Powerful" reached out to invite me to sit on a Motherhood panel, on behalf of MelanatedMama, I was humbled and honored.
I mean it surprised me that folks really want to hear about my highs and lows as a career driven, mama of 2 little care free black children.
I sat on a panel with some absolutely amazing, dope ass, kick ass Black mamas. While the goal was to inspire other women with our stories, expertise and experience. I surely walked away inspired and motivated to be(come) even better. I say self-care is an important thing and that Black women saved my life with out effort and very often. For those who missed out on the powerful kinetic energy that was in the space, you really missed out. Lucky for you I took notes and wanted to share. Being a mother didn't come with manual, but here are some tips to keep in your pocket for raising healed, care free Black Children while keeping your shit ( as the mama) together!
1. When raising your children and noticing gaps, the first and easiest step to begin repairing is going inward. To some degree, your children are immediate reflections of you. Fixing you, fixes them!
Example: During the pregnancy of my daughter I was an emotional wreck. Consistently living on the highs of becoming a mama and lows of accepting I would be doing it alone. I cried and smiled a lot.I felt like I had no control and that almost always made me sad and disappointed. Every time I am trying to redirect my child I am presented with this energy of highs and lows. A simple request to prepare for bath time results in tears and tantrums, especially if the request came at time that did not allow for a pre-conversation that gave her some sense of control over what was about to happen. It's the exact opposite with my son. While pregnant with him I had a totally different energy. I had come to fully accept things that I wrestled with and carried on during that pregnancy with the energy of ASÉ. It so it will be. I say one thing to my son and his typical response is "ok mommy".
2. Honor your child(ren)as a person.
Our children come to us equipped. It is our job to guide and lead them toward whats already destined for them. Parenting, in my opinion, should be less about control and should exist as a conversation. Value their voices and listen to them. A relationship built on respect and trust will go much further than on built out of fear.
Example: My daughter is a very outspoken little person. She is confident and unapologetic in her approach to life. She knows what hurts her feelings, when she's scared and that is what I love most about her. I had to learn how to do those things as a young adult. She came to me once, very matter of fact, and said that I yell too much. My yelling ( which was usually because I failed to prepare ahead of time and blamed my kids) was hurting her feelings and made her feel sad. I had to respect that request and apologize. Kids will humble you, quick, if you listen.
3.Every mother ( and their style) could serve as inspirations... if you're open to it.
Panelists were asked what woman or mother served as our greatest inspiration. Originally I answered hands down my mama and Big Ma. After all those women were my first role models. But coming into the role of mother has been journey built on seeking advice and learning from the experiences of all the mamas around me. I know some pretty dope mamas, all of whom have different ways of doing the same thing... raising dope people. Look around and take notes at all the people you love and see. The mama I thought I was gonna be as a young girl is not who I am. My notes and ideals were off.
Example: I can run an exhaustive list of mamas who have inspired my parenting "style" so to speak. The kids God mama refuses to call any kid "bad"... just "busy". Language has power. My sorors stay recycling clothing for the next baby coming up in the sorority/community. Why reinvent the wheel kids grow, sometimes too fast, why spend more than you have to. My homegirl includes her kids in her business, raising young entrepreneurs, I felt that. So, my kids join me and sometimes accomplish more sales than I could.
All in all I am grateful for spaces that are created that allow women to heal, talk, cry and laugh together. If you are not already following the ladies of P3, you are truly missing out. Thank you ladies for "putting MelanatedMama" on but for always inspiring me.
As always, if this was meaningful to you, like comment and share!
Peace and Love
The Melanated Mama
. They say "being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed."
Parenting little humans has been one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs I have ever had. If the past four (almost five) years of mama-ing has taught me anything it is that leading from the back is ok. Allowing my children to explore and experience life on their terms has proven to be more powerful than me trying to carefully construct experiences for them. Each of my children require different parts of me. Parts of me I never know existed until they made their introductions in my life.
Mother's Day use to be a trigger for my depression. Not today! I've come a long way in my healing and recognize that today Im celebrating our journey as a family - Team SMK. We have come so far.
So to the village of mamas who have held me close to their hearts, reminding me of my strengths and helping face my fears I salute you. Even on days when you feel like you are failing I'm sure the babies still think you are the BEST (Melandated) mama ever!!
If you are anything like me - I am usually a go with the flow type of mama. However, lately my routine has been off causing bedtime and leaving for work to be the most chaotic part of my already busy day. Bedtime sucks because I'm single a parent so EVERYTHING is on me, dinner, baths homework, clean up... did i mention everything. I already have an demanding job that leaves my brain fried at 4pm... I then have to go right into mama mood once after school pick ups are completed.
I try to front like To-Do lists are my thing but in reality i loose almost every single one I write. Over the years what I've noticed has worked is posting up my tasks. (I'd like to think this is in the family of To-do lists lol). I sat down one day and wrote out ALL the things I'm required to do during the night time and morning rushes of my life. What I found was rarely do the tasks change, one or two small things may get added but for the most part the tasks were the same day in and day out. I create a worksheet that I taped to my refrigerator to remind me daily of my tasks...l and listen chile- it has saved my sanity.
I have been operating off this system of posting my night time and morning worksheet on my fridge for about 1 week and so far so good. Being prepared to leave the house as shaved about a good 15 minutes from my morning rush.l My night time routine now has time for me actually spend quality time with my children instead of feeding, bathing, helping with homework and sending to bed.
If you not a excessive planner and if To-Do lists ain't your thing I challenge all you mamas to take a look at my worksheet - test it out and let me know your thoughts.
Im sure we could all use a little less fussin' in the morning ( and night).
Click the link below to check out the MelanatedMama Night time Routine worksheet.
Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure everything out. Turn to God. He has a plan.
Life happens and whenever conflict, problems or fears come into play my anxiety take over. Instantly. Work, bills, mama-ing, family, relationship ( or a lack of) all have decided to misalign at the same time. To sum it up, I'm tired. however those same issues also cause my anxiety to arise. I quickly get sucked into thinking that worrying equals caring, which then equals the arrival of a resolution. However, we all know that positive outcomes are not dependent on the time we spend worrying about things we mostly likely can not change. I've been here before. I know worrying does nothing, and that being at peace WILL fix everything. Peace is the best pathway to solutions.
My mind consumes my mind, body and spirit. Fear and anxiety blocks the universe's opportunity to create solutions... in fact it gives power to the problem. Elevation wont happen if all we know and give attention to is the problem.
Peace is a choice. A rather hard one when so much is unsure, but things will work out, they always do. I have to trust God and when i don't understand, thats having faith right?!
The act of consciously letting go in order to LET GOD IS HARD, but necessary in order to ensure I am present for all those that depend on me.. including me. My sanity and self care relies on my ability to choose peace, in order to create space to think about solutions.
When it feels the hardest to let go... thats God's way of saying Let God.
I have to let GOD.
You are a woman. A mama. A fran. A sister. A daughter. A dope chic. - You are resilient and beautiful. Your story is one of perseverance and strength. You should be proud of the person who have become. Two little humans call you mama and you have managed to turn your dreams into reality. God is not done with you. Go look into the mirror and affirm your beauty and greatness, both inside and out often.
I am so proud of you for not giving up on yourself when your back was against the wall and when you fell to your lowest. I am so proud of you for being honest with yourself when you needed to do and be better. Strength doesn't come from doing it alone- it comes from asking for help.
Im glad you figured out how to moisturize your skin, cause being ashy ain't cute lol. I know you made jokes about not being ashy but I realize that was just a way to remind yourself that self care is important. Never stop taking care of yourself...because mama or not if you are not good you are no good for your children.
You took a lot risks leading up to this day...but take more. Stop over thinking and live in the present. You can't change the past and the future hasn't happened yet...LIVE!!!!
Realize you are NOT superwoman. While you do some amazing things- realize and accept that some stuff simply wont get done- and it's ok! You are still going to be a dope chic and a great person. NO is a complete sentence.
Love with out conditions. Expect nothing. If its genuine in nature the universe will repay you. Just be you, unapologetically.
Remember that life happens outside the comfort zone- so try and step out there more often.
I know that you nervous, scared and even uneasy about what 30 years old will look like. But I need you to remember...You got this. You have all the skills to be great. Like ya sistafran always says...God be knowing.
Trust his timing. Trust HIS plan.
30 looks good on you.
"Everyone is a butterfly, they start our ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves." Drew Barrymore
The glow up is real. Im just 1 day away from the big three oh.
Im excited and nervous for what this era will hold for me. My journey thus far has taken me through both high and lows times. Im often asked how i make it... well i leave you all today with a few steps i use to living your best life:
1. Take care of your health ( mind body and soul)
1a. mental health, work out and get you a strong village
2.Live in the moment. Instead of focusing on the things beyond your control focus on the present.
3. Ask for help.
5. Say & Think kind things- your self is listening
6. Keep red lipstick on deck
7. Have private parties...often. enjoy your own company.
8. Build a solid village that loves on you AND holds you accountable.
9. Say NO.
10. never second guess your intuition and hold true to your standards.
**bonus- READ and reflect as much as possible****
"When she transformed into a butterfly, the catepillars spoke not of her beauty but of her wierdness. They wanted her to change back into what she had always been. But she had wings" - Dean Jackson
"The paradox of parenting is that it moves in both fast speed and slow motion"
My mama will tell you that she remembers the day i was born like it was yesterday. She can spit my weight and length - i wouldn't be surprised if she knew the time of birth too.
Every year I love to sit and listen to my mama tell me stories about my birth. I feel like with every year i find out something new. I know that my mama drove herself to the hospital and labored with me naturally. Once I was born my birth made the newspaper becuse I was the only baby born in the hospital on a cold Monday in February (29th). I was born on a leap year which meant i wouldn't get another calendar birth date for another 4 years.
Once i made earthside i tons of family waiting to greet me..my dad being the proudest. So proud that we name Symphony.
fast forward a few days and I will approaching 30 years young, Im floored at how fast that went. I vividly remember many elementary, middle and high school experiences like it was yesterday and I've been out of high school 12 years....omg!!!
My mama will officially have a 30 year old child. Im not old.. she is. lol
As I reflect I continue to think about my journey of raising two little humans. I can't help but think how fast will the next 30 years go?!!
I'm blessed. I can say my parents never missed beat when it came to being present in my life. For that, Thank you!
"Mamahood: The days are long but the years are short"
I get it now.
#melanatedmama #mamablogger #mamasworld
"As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide whats best for you- the first time around" Oprah Winfrey.
Things I love about myself:
My legs, 100m hurdle, track star, looking good in heels
My weird fashion sense, I dress in what makes me happy
My ability to piece together a bomb ass outfit from goodwill
The why my minds visualizes possibilities ( I'm a visionary)
My heart, its ability to love again and again and again
My mind, always open for more
My Lips, big and bold. Especially when they are covered in red.
my art and hows its transformed through time
my views on failure, its a learning tool for greatness
Today is Valentine's day and just like yesterday on #blackloveday I am choosing to indulge in self love. Im celebrating me. No I don't have a partner, a bae or boo... No I don't have an elaborate date planned ( with a man) INSTEAD Im choosing to love on my village.. my crew- my girls.
Im dressing up, hooking up my make-up and loving on the people who love on me consistently.
If social media will serve as a trigger for you, stay off. Write a list of what makes up happy and do it.
Love yourself extra hard today.
"aint no body gone love you if you don't love you" my mama.
Im the mama of Marli Amor and Kingston Ase.